What our Nails Can Say about our Health

Just like how the eyes are said to be the mirrors of our souls, the nails are be said to be the mirrors to our health.

Women (and sometimes even the men!) have them colored and designed every now and then, but our nails may actually display different tinges of color and textures depending on our health conditions. A healthy nail should maintain a consistent pinkish color from the cuticle to the edge of the nail bed, the point where the nail separates from the skin but sometimes, that’s not always what you see.

Have a look at your own nails and check if they have any hint of the following:

Whitish nails – If the nail plate appears mostly white or appears like a round glass with darker rims, this can indicate liver problems like cirrhosis  and hepatitis; diabetes; congestive heart failure and severe malnutrition. This could also be an indicator of low levels of circulating protein in the blood.

Yellowish Nails – One common cause of yellow nails is a fungal infection. The nail bed may retract, and nails may thicken and crumble if the infection worsens. Or it could simply be a result of wearing nail polish for a very long time. In very rare cases, yellow nails can indicate a more serious condition such as a severe thyroid or lung disease, lymphatic disorder or respiratory condition like chronic bronchitis.

Bluish Nails -Nails with a bluish tint can mean that the body isn’t getting enough oxygen and is often an indication of pulmonary obstruction. This could also indicate problems with the lungs such as pneumonia and emphysema.

Reddish nail beds could be caused by a high content of fatty acids and cholesterol, due to an excess of dairy products, sugar and salt in your diet which could lead to an underactive liver and blocked arteries.

Pale nails can be a sign of anemia, which is caused by a lack of red corpuscles in the blood or ron deficiency.

Aside from these different tinges, you might also find other patterns like dark lines beneath the nail which could be an indicator of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. They can go as dark as purple-black or blue-black, which is a sign that you need to see a doctor as soon as you can.

Nail folds that appear puffy, reddish and inflamed  and sometimes with irregular red lines on it could mean lupus or a connective tissue disease.

If the nail surface is rippled or pitted, this may be an early sign of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis. Nails that frequently crack or split, or those that appear to be dry  are linked to thyroid diseases.

Clubbed nails (photo credits from http://dermatlas.med.jhmi.edu)

If the end of the nails appears clubbed (there’s an increase in tissue around the ends of the fingers), it might indicate lung diseases.

Nail biting or gnawed nails can be a sign of persistent anxiety or an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Although changes in nail color and texture are rarely the first clue of serious illness, they can offer many little clues to what’s going on inside of you. Of course, if you feel something odd and , you don’t have to wait for any nail color changes before you seek the advice of a doctor.

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